Home Nutrition Tips The Public Health Concerns of Weed Legalization

The Public Health Concerns of Weed Legalization

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There are some severe public well being issues in regards to the legalization of marijuana, however they’re in all probability not what you would possibly anticipate.

Regarding marijuana legalization, “opinions range from regarding this as a landmark human rights advance granting access to a miracle medication, to one of a disastrous, anarchic profiteering sham.” Most could agree, although, that the trillion-dollar battle on weed has been a failed coverage, “a vehicle for the hideous expression of American society’s racism,” diverting legislation enforcement assets away from violent crime, but having “no appreciable effect on the availability of illegal drugs.” Yes, legalization would possibly free up legislation enforcement, however opponents “argue that it will increase marijuana use among youth”—not as a result of they couldn’t get it earlier than, however as a result of legalization “will make marijuana more available at a cheaper price and reduce the perceived risks of its use.” Less costly and extra socially acceptable. In different phrases, the argument goes, take into consideration the kids.

What occurred in states like Washington and Colorado after they legalized marijuana? Among teenagers in Washington state, “perceived harmfulness of marijuana use decreased and marijuana use increased,” doubling from 2 to 4 p.c. In distinction, there was no change in Colorado, however, presumably, that’s as a result of Colorado had 5 years of commercialized medical marijuana earlier than leisure use turned authorized. And, certainly, with the unique liberalization in Colorado, perceptions of danger amongst teenagers dropped greater than elsewhere and charges of dependence went up, as you’ll be able to see at 1:24 in my video Will Cannabis Turn Into Big Tobacco?.

“A frequently cited concern with legalization is that it will allow the rise of Big Cannabis, similar to Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol.” After the hashish trade efficiently beat again pesticide laws in Colorado, public well being advocates skilled a sense of déjà vu making an attempt to “mitigate the adverse public health consequences” within the face of an trade that simply “aims to maximise profit.” 

The largest concern, nonetheless, might not be Big Cannabis turning into Big Tobacco, however reasonably Big Tobacco turning into Big Cannabis. “Marijuana legalization advocates have not considered the potential effects of the multinational tobacco companies entering the market,” and, certainly, inner memos present that Big Tobacco has simply been ready within the wings for the best time to strike. The proven fact that Big Tobacco created cigarettes, maybe the main trigger of preventable dying on the earth, reveals how a lot they care about folks in comparison with income—so that ought to increase some crimson flags.

Big Tobacco is predicted to revenue from marijuana legalization whether or not or not it takes over, although, as frequent hashish use is a predictor of future cigarette dependancy. “For teen non-smokers…weekly cannabis use in the teens predicted a more than eightfold increase in the odds of later initiation of tobacco use”—shifting from simply joints to joints and cigarettes. This could also be as a result of “tobacco is mixed commonly with cannabis in large part to ensure it burns more smoothly. Thus, cannabis use may indirectly bring exposure to tobacco,” which can be seven or eight occasions extra addictive than hashish.

Or, it might simply be that teenagers who use marijuana hang around extra with a crowd that tends to smoke extra cigarettes. But, even after controlling for peer use, hashish does nonetheless appear to be a gateway drug to tobacco, maybe as a strategy to cope with hashish withdrawal. Either method, “one of the most potentially harmful and under-appreciated effects of cannabis use is the ‘reverse gateway’”—that it might result in nicotine dependancy, which wipes out almost 5 million lives yearly, about 24 occasions greater than all unlawful medication mixed.

For extra on hashish, take a look at my total video collection on marijuana right here.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The marijuana legalization debate options opinions starting from it being “a landmark human rights advance granting access to a miracle medication, to one of a disastrous, anarchic profiteering sham.” Opponents additionally argue it can improve hashish use amongst younger folks by making it cheaper and extra socially acceptable.
  • After legalization in Washington state, marijuana use amongst teenagers elevated and “perceived harmfulness” decreased. In Colorado, medical marijuana was legalized 5 years earlier than leisure use, and perceptions of danger of use amongst teenagers dropped whereas charges of dependence went up with the unique liberalization.
  • A standard concern with legalization is the doable rise of Big Cannabis, like Big Alcohol and Big Tobacco, however a bigger problem could also be Big Tobacco turning into Big Cannabis.
  • Frequent use of hashish is a predictor of future cigarette dependancy. Indeed, weekly marijuana use in non-cigarette-smoking teenagers predicted a greater than eightfold improve within the odds of later utilizing tobacco, which can be seven or eight occasions extra addictive than hashish.
  • Even after controlling for peer use, it seems that hashish does nonetheless appear to be a gateway drug to tobacco. In reality, “one of the most potentially harmful and under-appreciated effects of cannabis use is the ‘reverse gateway’”—resulting in nicotine dependancy, which takes almost 5 million lives yearly, about 24 occasions greater than all unlawful medication mixed.

In well being,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t but, you’ll be able to subscribe to my free movies right here and watch my stay displays:

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